Pregnancy and Your BBT
Once you’ve made the decision to have a baby you probably want to get pregnant as soon as possible so you can start on the wonderful journey of becoming a parent. One of the most efficient ways to maximize your chances of conceiving each month is by charting your BBT (basal body temperature). Keeping track of your BBT for a few months will help you determine when you’re ovulating so that you can be sure to plan on having intercourse on your most fertile days of the month.
How Does Charting Your BBT Work?
Before you start charting your BBT you might want to know what’s behind that slight rise in body temperature before you ovulate. There are two hormones that are important to your monthly menstrual cycle. During the follicular phase (the first half of your cycle) estrogen is important so that your ovaries produce an egg that is then released when you ovulate. During the luteal phase (the second half of your cycle) progesterone hormone levels start to take over and then drop as your period approaches. Right before you ovulate, when estrogen levels are higher, your body temperature is slightly cooler than it is after you’ve ovulated. This means that when your basal body temperature is a bit higher, that ovulation has occurred.
Getting Started Taking Your BBT
The only thing you’ll need to start charting your BBT is a basal body thermometer. The most reliable is the digital thermometer which will measure your temperature in .10 degrees. The reason the thermometer measures in such small degrees is because changes in your basal body temperature are quite small. You’ll also need graph paper although most BBT kits will come with graph paper that can be enlarged and then duplicated for you to use each month. There are also online BBT charts that you can use. The only thing that really matters is that you record your temperature every day so that you can track the slight fluctuations in temperature that occur during your monthly menstrual cycle.
How to Take Your BBT
Once you have your thermometer you’re ready to get started. Your basal body temperature is the temperature that your body is at when you first wake up in the morning. This means that you have to take your temperature while you’re still in bed in order to get an accurate reading. You’ll have to get in the habit of doing this even before you roll over or talk on the phone in bed. Get into the routine, that when your alarm goes off that you reach for your thermometer right away. To get an accurate temperature you’ll also need to take your BBT at the same time every morning. This means that even on weekends you’re going to have to set your alarm and reach for that thermometer. The good news is that once you’ve taken your temperature that you can go back to sleep!
When to Start Charting BBT
The best time to start charting your BBT is on the first day of your menstrual cycle. Your pre-ovulatory temperature is typically going to be anywhere from 97 degrees to 97.6 degrees. However, your body is going to have its own “normal” which is why you’re charting your temperature to begin with. You’ll soon have a day where your temperature is a bit higher than it has been before. The overall rule is that when your BBT is about .2 degrees higher than it has been, that ovulation has occurred. Your temperature will stay elevated for about three days before it drops down again. Typical post-ovulatory temperatures are 97.7 degrees and higher.
The Benefits of Charting BBT
Perhaps one drawback to charting your BBT is that it won’t predict ovulation, it will only help you determine that ovulation has happened. There are however many benefits to keeping track of your BBT. By charting your BBT for about four to six menstrual cycles, you’ll have a good idea of when in your cycle you’re ovulating. Charting also helps you pinpoint what a normal cycle means to your body. It’s a complete myth that all women ovulate on the 14th day of their cycle. In fact, ovulation for women who are fertile can happen anywhere between day 10 and day 21. As well as helping you conceive faster, charting your BBT can also help you determine if you’re having any problems with your cycle. For instance, if you’re not seeing a rise in your body temperature it might mean that you’re not ovulating. This is also known as anovulation. If you have a thyroid problem then charting your BBT can be your first indication that something is wrong. A hyper-active thyroid can show itself in temperatures that are unusually high while consistent lower temperatures might mean that you have an under-active thyroid. Both of these conditions can affect your fertility.
BBT Lets You Take Charge of Your Fertility
One of the best things that you can do when you’re trying to conceive is to take charge of your own fertility. Knowing when you’re ovulating can help you get pregnant faster than if you just have frequent and untimed intercourse. Be patient and track your cycle for a few months so that you have a good idea of your individual menstrual and ovulation cycle.